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Ward 4 Dispatch: Proposed WMATA Bus Routes, Lafayette Field Updates, and Mother’s Day

Dear Neighbors,

Happy Friday, and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Our teachers are an invaluable part of our Ward 4 community, and I’m grateful for their dedication to supporting our students throughout their educational journeys and beyond. 

There’s a lot to catch up on this week, as we took a major step forward in the budget process with the Committee on Facilities and Family Services’ approval of our FY25 budget recommendations. There are also some important updates to share on WMATA’s newly released bus network proposal, as well as ongoing work to preserve the grass field at Lafayette Elementary School and steps forward to improve traffic safety in Ward 4. 

Here are my updates from the past week:

WMATA Better Bus Network Proposal Release

This week, WMATA released their Better Bus Network proposal, the first ever bus network redesign since WMATA was created in 1967. After considering public input over the coming months, WMATA will begin implementing the revised plan starting in mid-to-late 2025.

WMATA has created several webpages to help District residents understand the new bus lines. Here, you can find a breakdown of the proposed bus routes and compare them to currently operating routes. You can also take a look at the full map of proposed routes here. Finally, to learn more about the overall project, click here. There’s a lot to dig into, but I’m happy to see some route improvements and improved frequency for important routes serving Ward 4.

However, the proposed design also raises concerns. For one, community members have raised concerns about the 63 bus route, which serves a large part of Ward 4, being replaced by two separate lines, which may force riders to transfer at Petworth. I’m also concerned about the impact of WMATA’s new naming system, which is a major shift from the current system and may create confusion. WMATA is also proposing route changes which will leave out previously served bus stops, meaning there will be some areas where it’s more difficult to get a bus. Finally, as part of their redesign, WMATA proposes closing certain bus stops, some of which have a lower frequency of use, and others which aren’t safely accessible or pose other safety concerns.

Next week, WMATA will be sharing their public engagement schedule and in the following weeks, I’ll be providing many more updates on the opportunities to learn more about the proposed routes and provide input. Now is the opportunity for community members to take a close look at the routes you regularly use and submit feedback. It will be critical to submit comments to ensure the final route plan meets the needs of Ward 4 residents. 

Upholding the Community’s Voice on Lafayette Field

On Thursday, the Council voted 9-3 to approve my emergency resolution requiring DGS to install a natural grass field at Lafayette Elementary School. This is a big win for the Chevy Chase community and all of Ward 4, as DGS will be halted from installing a turf field at this community park, a step that has been opposed by ANC 3/4G, Friends of Lafayette Park, and many residents who have consistently voiced their support for keeping the existing grass. 

Ultimately, the Council decided to postpone voting on the temporary resolution which would have been in effect for 225 days. This was done in the hopes that DGS will fulfill its obligation to properly engage the community on its decision-making process without further intervention from the Council.

In the coming weeks, I’m committed to making sure DGS fully works with the neighborhood to determine the future of Lafayette field. If the community is not brought into this decision-making process, I am prepared to push forward with the temporary resolution to ensure the neighborhood’s preferences are accounted for. 

Investments in Facilities, Families, and Disability Programs

On Wednesday, the committee I chair, the Committee on Facilities and Family Services, released its budget report which was unanimously approved during our committee markup on Thursday. This report is the culmination of weeks of review of the proposed budget and four committee hearings, where we heard from members of the public and conducted extensive oversight of the agencies under the committee’s purview.

In recommending these investments, one of my biggest goals was to ensure we maintain our commitment to vital services for DC’s children, families, and members of the disability community, especially those services that were eliminated in the Mayor’s proposed budget. 

Here are just a few of the investments we approved:

  • Restored funding for the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children, ensuring the best possible outcomes for children involved with the Child and Family Services Agency.
  • $13.6M for HVAC preventative maintenance in DCPS, proactively addressing problems before damages occur.
  • Allocated $750,000 to DGS’s budget to facilitate a reduction in work orders, and $250,000 to repair locks and doors in schools, the most frequently requested work order in DC schools.
  • Restored cuts to developmental disabilities administration providers, ensuring people with disabilities continue to receive residential supports and services.
  • Fully restored grant funding for Safe Shores Children’s Advocacy Center, which supports survivors of violence, trauma, and abuse.
  • Allocated $400,000 in funding to support CFSA’s home visiting programs, supporting parents who are at risk for child abuse and neglect. 

Now approved, the committee budget will go to the full Council for final votes. If you’d like to see the complete list of our changes, you can find a longer list of highlights here, or read the full budget report here

Public Safety Updates

Over the weekend, there was a fire on the 500 block of Madison St NW in Manor Park. DC Fire and EMS were able to arrive at the scene quickly and safely extinguish the fire. I’m grateful to our first responders for safely evacuating those inside with no injuries sustained. 

On Tuesday, MPD announced the arrest of one of the suspects in the fatal shooting on the 5100 block of Georgia Ave NW, which happened at the end of March. The victim, Philip Prendergast, was a beloved member of our DC community, and my thoughts have been with his family in the aftermath of this tragic event. 

Shepherd Park Traffic Safety Improvements

This week, I was grateful to see DDOT issue a notice of intent to initiate traffic safety improvements at the intersection of Alaska Ave and Geranium St NW in Shepherd Park. Over the years, the community has expressed numerous concerns about this intersection, especially for the children and families who cross it going to and from school. Specifically, neighbors have reported drivers not heeding pedestrians and not coming to full stops.

After much partnership from the community, last year, I was proud to allocate funding in the FY24 budget to require the intersection be studied and traffic safety improvements be made. As a result of this study, DDOT will be implementing four important changes starting next month, pending public comment. Here are the changes:

  • The two bus stops located will be relocated to the opposite sides of the crosswalk on Alaska Ave NW, improving visibility for pedestrians crossing the street.
  • DDOT will implement curb extensions on three corners of the intersection, improving visibility, shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians, and slowing drivers as they turn.
  • DDOT will restrict parking on Geranium near the crosswalks and intersection to keep the area free of obstructions.
  • Pavement marking and signage will be improved to prevent traffic safety issues. 

Thank you to the many community members who have advocated for improving traffic safety at this intersection. I’m looking forward to seeing these changes go into effect!

Community Resources

DPW Helping Hand Neighborhood Clean-Up

Each year from March 1st to October 1st, DPW supports community groups organizing Saturday neighborhood clean-up projects through the Helping Hand Program. The program lends toolkits with five rakes and brooms, two shovels, and 20 trash bags. DPW will send trucks to collect the bagged trash and a SWEEP (Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program) inspector will collect the tool kit. To receive an application for a Helping Hand toolkit for your neighborhood clean-up project, contact the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.

Solar Switch DC

Solar Switch is a program run by the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) which helps DC residents affordably install solar panels for their homes. The program conducts rigorous reviews of installer qualifications, ensuring applicants receive a high-quality installation from a trusted installer. Register here until July 24th!

Riggs Crossing Retail Space

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is in the midst of construction of the Riggs Crossing Senior Residences, which will provide 100% affordable housing to seniors on the southeast corner of South Dakota Ave and Riggs Road NE. The building will have ground floor retail, a portion of which is being offered at below market rate for unique and local retail tenants. On May 14th at 10am, APAH is holding an information session for potential retail tenants on Microsoft Teams. To join, click here.

Capital Bikeshare for All Program

DDOT recently launched its “Capital Bikeshare for All” program, offering low-income residents $5 annual memberships (usually a $95 value). The program is available to all DC residents who qualify for a state or federal assistance program including SNAP, WIC, TANF, SSI/SSDI, LIHEAP, Veterans disability (60%+), or Medicaid assistance. To learn more about Capital Bikeshare for All and join, click here

Wheelchair Accessible Taxicab Survey

The Department of For-Hire Vehicles is implementing a pilot program to increase wheelchair-accessible taxicabs in DC this summer. This program will use an online platform to allow wheelchair users to book on-demand taxi rides based on their location. DFHV is seeking more information from community members for inform how the program will look once implemented. To fill out the survey, click here

eCYCLE DC Electronics Recycling

On Saturday, May 18th, from 10am to 2pm, the Department of Energy and Environment will be offering an eCYCLE collection event on the corner of Georgia Ave NW between Madison St NW and Longfellow St NW (next to the Emery Heights Community Center). Community members will be able to drop off and properly dispose of covered electronic equipment, including TVs and computers. Learn more here.

DPR Boost Camps

Registration is open for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Summer Boost Camps! Boost Camps are specialty enrichment camps geared toward tweens ages 11-13. Each day is a combination of enrichment and social-emotional learning with additional access to physical activities like swimming, dance, and group fitness. There will also be time for arts and crafts, games, puzzles, and free play. Click here for more details and to register.

Shepherd Park Library Tech Assistance

The Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library will be hosting a drop-by technology assistance session on May 19th, from 1:30 to 3:00pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn technology skills like uploading and downloading, saving documents, submitting online applications, and more. Be sure to bring your device with you and reach out to with any questions!

Apply for Tuition Support from DC

Applications are open for DC Futures, DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG), and the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program. These are three popular tuition support programs for DC residents pursuing higher education. Applications will close on Friday, September 6th. Learn more and apply!

Disputing a DC Water Bill

A number of community members have expressed confusion or concerns about how to dispute charges with DC Water.  After receiving a charge, occupants have a 20-day period to submit a dispute and should submit it in writing with reasons why the bill is believed to be incorrect. Disputes can be filed via mail, email, or through DC Water’s dispute form. Learn more here.

Free Counseling Services for Medicaid Recipients

Olive Tree Counseling Services provides District youth and families with mental and behavioral health supports and offers convenient telehealth visits without the lengthy delay for appointments. This is a free service funded via Medicaid. Olive Tree takes a trauma informed approach with licensed professionals expanding access and reducing barriers to assistance with continuity across the patient’s medical care including family therapy to strengthen the family unit. Learn more on Olive Tree’s website here.

Neighborhood Events

Community Basketball at Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center

Tonight, starting at 5pm, the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association will be holding a series of community basketball games at Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center. Stop by at 5pm for a contest between WMATA 10U and Riggs Park 10U, at 6pm between MPD and Metro All Stars, and 7pm between DC Fire and WMATA!

Live Jazz on Kennedy Street

Over the next few months, Home Rule Records will be organizing monthly live jazz performances on the 700 block of Kennedy Street NW, with sponsorship from Uptown Main Street, DSLBD, Realtor Eddie Suarez, and others. Performances kicked off on Wednesday with saxophonist Sara Hughes and will be continuing through September with free live jazz performances each month. 

Shepherd Park Library Chess Club

The SPK Chess Club warmly welcomes chess players of all ages and skill levels to join their drop-in games on May 13th, starting at 4pm. Whether you’re there to teach or to learn, join for a game and enjoy the fun!

Paper Theatre Story Time and Origami Craft

On May 14th at 4pm, the Japan Information and Cultural Center of the Embassy of Japan is organizing a Kamishibai (Paper Theatre Story Time) at the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library. The story will be “Momotaro: The Boy In The Peach,” and will be followed by an origami craft. The event is for ages 5-10. Learn more here!

ANC 4B05 Community Walk with MPD

On Wednesday, May 15th, from 12 to 1pm, ANC 4B05 Commissioner Kevin Gilligan will be hosting a community walk with MPD at 7th St NW and Quackenbos St NW. If you plan to join, or if you won’t be able to make it but have specific questions, please reach out to Commissioner Gilligan over email at or send a text to 202-713-5401.

Shepherd Park Library Teen Game Space

On Friday, May 17th from 3pm to 5pm, the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library will be hosting an after-school program for teens to play Nintendo Switch, socialize, and have fun. Participants ages 13-19 are encouraged to attend!

Brightwood Community Association Spring Clean-Up

On Saturday, May 18th, the Brightwood Community Association and ANC 4A04 and 4A05 will hold a neighborhood clean-up from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Come out and make Brightwood shine and show off how beautiful our neighborhood can be when trash is removed from our streets! Meet on the 1200 block of Tuckerman on the grassy area by St. John Church.

ANC 4B Earth Day Fair

Gather with neighbors for ANC 4B’s Second Annual Earth Day Fair at Takoma Elementary School on Saturday, May 18th from 11am to 2pm. Join government agencies, non-profits, neighborhood groups, student organizations, and more with the goal of sharing resources and opportunities for engagement around environmentalism! Learn more and sign up to attend here!

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, and NPS.

Ward 4 in the News

The Washington Post: D.C. Council overrides Mayor Bowser’s veto over housing program rules

PoPville: DC Water issues Boil Water Advisory for parts of NW, “earliest the advisory will be lifted is Friday May 10”

DC News Now: DC Water lifts boil water advisory for Northwest

WUSA9: Deadly Hotbox dispensary robbery: 1 arrested, 2nd suspect still sought

Next Stop…Riggs Park: May 14: Info Session on Retail Opportunity – Riggs Crossing Senior Residences

Over the weekend, I got to take part in one of my favorite yearly traditions by attending the Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour. The flowers are beautiful this time of year, and I loved exploring the beautiful gardens throughout the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, I was honored to receive DC SCORES’ poet-athlete award alongside author Jason Reynolds. It was the highlight of my week to hear students perform their poetry, especially our Ward 4 poet-athletes from Barnard, McFarland, Truesdell, and other Ward 4 schools. It was an unforgettable night!

And on Wednesday, it was a joy to spend the morning with our Ward 4 seniors at Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center for their Mother’s Day celebration. With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I’ll be thinking about all of the mothers, mother figures, mothers who are no longer with us, and people who are struggling to become mothers in our community. Whoever the mothers are in your lives, I hope you’re able to let them know how loved and appreciated they are.

Have a great weekend, Ward 4!

Yours in Community,